Ferrari and Mercedes are currently locked into an intense battle in the Constructor Championship.
Ferrari team principal Fred Vasseur has warned that his team will not be sacrificing their fight with Mercedes in order to get a head start on 2024’s car with the Scuderia fully committed to their battle over second place in the Constructor Championship.
The Scuderia looked destined to move clear of Aston Martin but fall well short of second-placed Mercedes heading out of the summer break, but the team’s consistent performances combined with the struggles of George Russell have opened up the fight.
While Lewis Hamilton is running away with P3 in the Drivers’ Championship, the Scuderia now trail the Silver Arrows by just 20 points in the Constructor Championship with six races and a couple of sprints still to come.
Speaking about the fight with Mercedes, Vasseur said: “You don’t have to postpone the fight, the fight is with Mercedes today, and we have to take it. It’s always the best way to prepare for the future, for the mindset of the team, for everybody to be into the fight is crucial.
“And we’ll keep this fight until the end of the season. It’s never a sacrifice, because I think that performance is coming from performance. It’s too late to go into the wind tunnel for this season, but what we can do on the current car will help us for next year.”
Despite claiming the team’s first race win of the season in Singapore and showing better pace relative to the Mercedes cars at Suzuka last time out, Vasseur remains adamant that Ferrari have shown pace throughout the second half of the season.
“Before the break, in Spa, we were also in good shape, but Charles [Leclerc] started fourth,” Vasseur continued. “He was theoretically on the first row, but he started from pole position and did a good race.
“As it’s a matter of hundredths of seconds, sometimes you do a small step, you have the feeling that everything is changed. It’s not exactly the reality and from race to race and from track to track. Even the drivers, sometimes the setup is more fitting with Carlos or Charles.
“It’s sport, in the end, you can accept that one is doing a better job than the others from weekend to weekend. And I think that we have a positive competition, and this is also helping us to improve.”